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WLAC Will Suit Up for Football This Fall

February 25, 1988|RAY RIPTON | Times Staff Writer

West Los Angeles College, which dropped football in 1985 partly because of financial problems in the Los Angeles Community College District, will revive it in the fall.

Dr. Linda Thor, WLAC president, said: "We want West Los Angeles College to be a comprehensive college in the broadest sense of the term, and football is a significant student activity."

Jim Raack, WLAC athletic director, said he has been assured that $55,000 will be set aside for the football program and that another $35,000 is expected to be raised from other sources, including the West Los Angeles College Foundation, Associated Students and private donations. Raack said he expects to name a coach by mid-March.

WLAC dropped football and baseball in May, 1986, after 48 teachers were laid off by the district. The district originally sent layoff notices to about 140 instructors but reduced the number to 48, including 13 in physical education.

At WLAC, the coaches who originally received dismissal notices and were later reassigned to classroom teaching were Jim Babcock, the football coach; Steve Butler, an assistant to Babcock, and Art Harris, the baseball coach. Only Babcock, who teaches mathematics, resumed coaching, as director of the golf team.

Raack said in 1986 that the football and baseball coaches didn't feel they could continue to coach those sports because they felt "they need to prepare for classes. (They also) feel they cannot do both."

The athletic director said then that he and Thor had agreed that football and baseball were intensive sports that required coaches who were full-time employes because of the attention required by athletes.

Raack said the new football coach would be a full-time employee. He added that neither Babcock nor Butler, who teaches physical education, had applied for the job. The program also will have five part-time assistant coaches.

He said he is "excited about bringing back football. We always had very competitive teams since our first in 1970.

"I think there is a lot of talent in Los Angeles to select from. It may be a tough row to hoe for the first year or so, but we're looking to put together a competitive team in the first year."

Raack and Charles Brown, dean of student and college relations, will be in charge of the return of football.

The college has produced several professional football players, including Warren Moon, starting quarterback for the Houston Oilers, and Stephen Baker, wide receiver for the New York Giants. Both were all-conference players and junior college All-Americans at WLAC.

Raack said there are several reasons for bringing back football and one is that it is "an integral part of any college atmosphere. It is like a rallying point for students to identify with the school. If the program is successful, students receive a lot of personal pride."

Football will also bring to the school "75 to 100 students (football players)," he said

Thor said that the college also has a long-range goal of restoring baseball and track and field, which was dropped before baseball and football. The college fields teams in men's basketball, women's volleyball, men's and women's tennis and co-educational golf.

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